Therefore, there is no salvation except in independence of thought.
‘‘Forget all you’ve heard and clutch what you see
At sunrise what use is Saturn to thee?’’
If writing these words yields no other outcome save to make you
doubt your inherited beliefs, compelling you to inquire, then it
was worth it—leave alone profiting you. Doubt transports [you] to
the truth. Who does not doubt fails to inquire. Who does not inquire
fails to gain insight. Without insight, you remain blind and
perplexed. So we seek God’s protection from such an outcome.
—Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, Mīzān al-amal (Balance of Deeds)
I find these lines by Ghazālī to be inspirational. I am aware that many people blame Ghazālī for everything that went wrong in Muslim civilization, charging him for the demise of reason, the loss of philosophical rigor and for validating sufism that resulted in retrograde forms of religious practices. The story is more complicated than this and on another occasion I will write more about this. But think of these crystalline ideas of his.